The most important thing which followed birthing my children … was holding my children. Opening my arms to receive; encircling my arms around them; drawing them close in toward my heart- fitting them into it like the perfectly formed puzzle piece they were.

It is a stand still moment which feels like an eternity in the making but happens in an instant. This babe, this child, my heart, his heart, ours.

It feels as close to heaven as I have ever felt. Each babe freshly delivered from the womb where He knit and toiled and loved – it a miraculous moment when these new persons were delivered into the arms of one much less able but bursting with the most primitive love a clay vessel could possibly hold.

After this moment, it was my immediate desire to encircle my family into one space. I was impatient to return to my home where I could have all my people within arm’s length, close enough to complete the circle, hold everything near so we might all be warmed by the glow which seemed to surround us.

I loved those early days when my arms were full of babies. Yes, it was exhausting and I wasn’t always myself but I loved holding them, lifting them, sitting them on a hip, and swinging them about in silly willynilly ways. These were the days we established our close circle.

But there came a day, with each child, when I had to let them out of the circle – out of my protective bubble and out into a big and what appeared to be scary world. It made my arms ache for want to pull them back, back into the space I associated with their safety, back in toward my heart where they could keep – it – safe. Each of these pieces of heart – walking about all vulnerable and exposed, it ached, it aches. But when I brought these people into my heart, I also embraced risk and vulnerability and pain.

I discovered that the word embrace, in some definitions, might have been influenced by the middle French word “embrasen” which means to set on fire. This image feels right to me – the idea that something from which we draw light can also set us ablaze.

Because arms are not made to hold forever. Love is not a warm and cozy blanket – it is fierce and firey and without air it burns out. Through holding my children, God has taught me about love, family, closeness, and intimacy. He is also teaching me to release my embrace, to trust that He hasn’t forgotten these creations of His, these heart pieces of ours. He is asking me to fall back into His arms because His is a love more fierce and consuming.

To embrace something is not a singular act – it is first, the holding onto and second, the release of holding.  Thankfully, I am not being asked to fully release my kids or husband or family or even my cat at present.  My circle is close but I feel the nudging, the awkward acknowledging that I am being prepared to release my hold. Thankfully, He is there to catch me.  An added beauty of letting go is that my arms will be freed to embrace the family I am yet to know.

Today the #wholemama word is: embrace.  Follow me over to Overflow to read more stories from lovely #wholemama storytellers.